HoCo, Veterans advances; Perry falls

Houston County and Veterans swept. Perry was swept.

Those were the results of the opening round of the GHSA baseball playoffs this past week.

The Bears rallied – twice even – to beat Heritage, Conyers while the Warhawks avoided a rally in Game 1 against East Paulding while rolling in Game 2. Perry fell in two games to Luella. The Panthers lost the first 3-1 and second 4-0.

Both of Houston County’s games ended up 4-3 and both really hinged upon a three-run inning by the Bears. Heritage led 1-0 after one in Game 1. It then went up 2-0 with a run in the third. Houston County answered that with one in the bottom of the inning but Patriots answered with one of their own in the fifth to make it 3-1. The Bears went quiet in the bottom of the inning but then plated the trio in the bottom of the sixth. They out-hit the visitor 10-4.

Four of those came from the top of the order. Leadoff hitter Jacob Pruitt went 2-4 with an RBI and Cam Jones in the two-hole went 2-3 with a walk and an RBI. Also, Austin Hittinger, hitting in the three spot, went 1-2 with two walks and an RBI.

Houston County used three pitchers in the effort, with Chandler Ring getting the win for six innings of work. He gave up the hits and runs while striking out five and walking three.

Heritage jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one in Game 2. Both went quiet in the second and third before the Bears once again scored three. They added their fourth run in the sixth while the Patriots scored one in the bottom of that inning.

Houston County again had 10 hits. This time it came mostly at the bottom of the lineup. Austin Langford went 2-3 with a run scored and Lawson Trawick also went 2-3 to help lead the way.

Chandler Dawson threw a complete game for the win. He struck out seven while walking one.

Next up for the Bears will be Pope, which won 6-2, 14-0. It’s also a No. 1 seed, which means Houston County will have to travel for the series, which is slated to begin Thursday.

As far as the Warhawks, after two scoreless innings by both, they scored all of their runs in the third. The Wildcats, who out-hit their host 8-6, then scored one in the fourth and two in the seventh.

Leyton Pinckney and Derek Wylie accounted for all four of Veterans’ RBIs. Both were 1-3 – Wylie’s a homerun. He also earned the win. He threw five innings while giving up three hits and a run. He also struck out six and walked four.

Veterans will host East Paulding next. The series is scheduled for Thursday, with the first pitch for Game 1 set to be thrown at 3 p.m. and the first pitch for Game 2 set for 6 p.m.